It sounds like the Obama administration is seriously considering partly delaying the Obamacare individual mandate by a few months. According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, “[HHS] is working on aligning those policies, the enrollment period and the individual responsibility time frame period.”
At issue is the fact that open enrollment doesn’t end until March 31st but if you don’t sign up for insurance by February 15th you will be hit with the individual mandate penalty. This means you can sign up for insurance during the open enrollment period and still be penalized for not getting insurance soon enough.
This is an idiotic way to run the individual mandate. It’s really only a problem this first year because there is a special extra long open enrollment period. Logically, people should have until the last day of open enrollment to sign up to avoid the penalty.
This bad policy choice is made even worse by the fact that it is still so hard for people to sign up using the website. Even people trying to be responsible are having a very tough time getting this done early.
It definitely sounds like the administration will delay the mandate so it matches the enrollment period, but they are not going to call it a “delay” because that would make Republicans too happy. Instead they will call it an “alignment” or something else that attempts to obscure what it really is.